Short walks, clean air a natural remedy
Imagine breathing in clean, fresh air, listening to birds and hearing the soft rustle of wind through the trees, feeling the sun on your face – they are experiences we have been yearning for during the past, particularly difficult, 18 months.
In the Clare and Gilbert Valleys there are plenty of opportunities for ecotherapy, where you can spend time in our natural environment, enjoy the rush of endorphins and feel your stress melt away, especially when you take a walk with us.
There are so many benefits from walking, but unlike a lot of things which are good for you, taking a walk in the Clare and Gilbert Valleys is also a pleasure.
Take a walk and take in the views. Walk past vineyards, overlook hills and valleys and steep yourself in the heritage and history of our region. Beautiful and interesting in any season with an advantage that our abundance of vines show us off in vibrant green during the driest of seasons.
Walkers of all abilities can enjoy our scenery with strolls along the iconic and world-renowned Riesling Trail, Rattler Trail and their connections to the Heysen, Lavender Federation and Mawson trails – make walking a holiday destination.
The Clare Valley Short Walks is a suite of six new short walks for you to experience the delights of the region. They have been mapped out, taking from one to four hours to enjoy, which also include parts of our well known trail networks. They are perfect for simple strolls or for more serious walkers and suitable for the whole family.
And many of the short walks have opportunities to enjoy our regional fare along the way.
The Clare to Sevenhill Short Walk is one of the more popular walks, meandering along seven kilometres of beautiful countryside and across historic railway bridges. It winds past wineries, cellar doors and bakeries with a link to the village of Sevenhill and the nearby Richardson Park Playspace where adults can take a break and relax, while the kids enjoy the play equipment. This Short Walk takes about three hours and is suitable for recreational walkers, mountain and touring bikes, wheelchairs and pushers.
A shorter walk is the Cascades Short Walk – a modest 1.3 kilometre return walk within the popular Spring Gully Conservation Park. Featuring a stunning lookout across the Gulf St Vincent, a seasonal cascade and several great picnic spots to enjoy the serene environment.
Another one kilometre walk is at Neagles Rock reserve – but don’t be fooled with this one as it is an interesting climb to the top where you can take in the Clare Valley from 455m above sea level.
Other walks in the Short Walks series include Watervale to Mt Horrocks (three hours return), Mintaro to Martindale Hall (2.5 hours return) and Riverton to Rhynie (four hours return).
What all the walks have in common are their ability to renew our energy and sense of wellbeing. The Japanese call this shinrin-yoku - the art of ‘forest bathing’ or taking in the atmosphere of the forest and trees.
Taking our cue from nature to revive us isn’t new and we invite you to experience the Clare and Gilbert Valleys in all its aspects – from its heritage, its food and its walking trails – any time of the year.
This article is courtesy of the Plains Producer and is from the 2021 Spring Valley & Flinders Magazine which can be read online in full.
" The Clare Valley is best known for its food, wine and cycling along the Riesling Trail. What it’s not as well known for is that it is located at the crossroads of many of South Australia’s best trails including the Mawson, Heysen, Riesling, Rattler and Lavender Federation trails.
The length of these trails encompasses some of the best scenery in the State from verdant fields, spectacular coastlines, mountain ranges and desert landscapes. With that being said, they’re very long, too long for a normal someone like myself! So, where are the best bits? The Clare Valley has helped you out with the development of the Clare Valley Short Walks, ranging from a short 40 minutes to a half-day walk. There are six Short Walks for you to choose from which provide a touch of what makes this region truly special.
The six Short Walks are:
My personal favourite is the Watervale to Mt Horrocks walk which shows off the quintessential Clare Valley countryside and ends with some great food and wine options. Starting at a shelter along the Riesling Trail in Watervale, the Short Walk crosses by the picturesque town before heading towards Mt Horrocks. The walk takes you through lush vineyards before starting to ascend towards the range in which Mt Horrocks is located. Although you don’t summit the mount itself, the Short Walk follows the Lavender Federation Trail, taking you up to a ridgeline providing one of the most spectacular panoramas of the region with views down to the Barossa, north to the higher ranges of the Mid North and towards Gulf St Vincent. It truly is breathtaking and provides an aspect of the hilly landscape for which the region perhaps is not as well known. A unique piece of history is the story that Ned Kelly and his gang actually hid in a nearby hut during a period when they disappeared from Victoria back in the day! Confirmed or not? Check out the story on the Lavender Federation Trail’s website.
After taking in the view, descend back to Watervale which has two of the best dining options going around with the recently renovated Watervale Hotel and the Watervale General Store, a great place to put those feet up and breathe it all in.
When you visit the Clare Valley next, make sure to include a Short Walk in your itinerary. More information on each walk is available on the Clare Valley website, including downloadable maps."
Written by Andrew Christiansen